The Friends of Joseph Priestley House Museum will reopen the site for weekend
tours beginning Saturday, Oct. 3. Heritage Day, a grand reopening event will be held
Sunday, Nov. 1 from 1-4 p.m., it was announced at the group’s annual meeting Thursday
in Northumberland, PA.
The site has been closed since mid-August due to the state’s budget emergency, which
forced the furlough of its paid staff and nearly caused permanent closing of the museum.
In the future, Friends’ members, serving as volunteers, will lead weekend tours for the
public. School and community group tours can be scheduled at other times. For
information, contact the Friends’ website (www.josephpriestleyhouse.org.)
Former Museum director Andrea Bashore and former staffer Brooke Dearman were
special guests of honor at the event. Guest speaker was Phillip K. Wilson, professor
at Penn State’s medical school, who spoke on the relationship between Erasmus Darwin
At the meeting, new directors who take office in January, were announced. They are
Geneive Henry, Selinsgrove, a chemistry professor at Susquehanna University; Mike
Kuhns, Selinsgrove, district manager at Chemgro; Don Mencer, Hazleton, chemistry
professor at Wilkes University; Seth Rohrbach, Northumberland, a longtime volunteer
tour guide; and Bill Simpson, Lewisburg, retired Eastman-Kodak chemist.
The Friends’ group has also formed a wide-ranging advisory committee of experts,
both regional and national, who will meet by teleconference. They are J.D. Bowers,
Northern Illinois University, author and historian; Mary Ellen Bowden, Philadelphia,
historian of science; Andrew Miller, Susquehanna Valley Visitors Bureau; Donald Steele,
Northumberland National Bank; Priestley Tomlin, Joseph Priestley descendent and
genealogist; Stuart Stabley, American Chemical Society; Ryan Unger, SEDA-COG;
Bryan Wolf, president of Northumberland borough council; and Robert G. Witten,
director of Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit.
The Friends of Joseph Priestley House is a not-for-profit membership organization
established in partnership with the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission
which owns the site. The Friends’ goals are to promote interest in Joseph Priestley and
his work and to research and restore the Joseph Priestley House. The group provides
educational programming and conducts fundraising activities. Members receive free
admission to Joseph Priestley House, discounted rates at special events and 10% discount
on purchases made at the gift center. The Friends are always seeking additional
volunteers to staff the visitor’s center and conduct tours of the Priestley House Museum.
More information is available at www. josephpriestleyhouse.org